Indie rockers AM to AM had their work cut out for them last Thursday night at Crash Mansion. Up until they started their late set, it had been a fairly subdued evening. Three low-key bands played before them and by the time we arrived, the wallflower audience situation looked dire.
Perhaps sensing they had to get a jump on things, AM to AM immediately opened big with “Pop As Science” (here’s a group who knows how to title a song appropriately!), and hit the ground running from there. We really enjoyed this one, if only because it included an unbelievable amount of shouting from the ensemble and they all have great voices. So it came together in a way that was both urgent and professional at once.
Their energy and massive ambition (and some pretty nice Gibsons) remained tight for the rest of the 45 minute set. Another for-sure standout was definitely “Mirror Clear.” This song’s middle-eight shows off great cabaret-style piano work from keyboardist Sarah Goldstone. Its twists and turns help give the song a distinctive character to stand on its own two legs. Indeed, the fun, stylistic detours through this number showcased their cohesiveness as a band.
For “Feed Me To The Ghoul,” lead singer/songwriter Will Tendy put on what looked like a Nintendo power glove, and began sequencing an eight-bit counterpoint to drummer Jonathon Schmidt’s rhythms. In equal measure, Schmidt clocked his arrangement with canned, electronic drums perfectly. This was all pretty impressive, and did not go unnoticed by the crowd.The closing number was a barn-burning cover of “Pump it Up” that, once again, exhibited their talent as an ensemble. At that point, it seemed as if the audience was just beginning to dance and cut loose, but they had to cut short the abbreviated set. Nonetheless, AM to AM ended with everyone wanting more, which is always the true sign of a great show.
Overall, their set consisted of all the songs from their new self-titled EP, which sounds like a less obnoxious and more poppy version of lead singer Will Tendy’s other band, Morningwood. While Morningwood has great energy, it’s not for everyone. AM to AM is less crass and a bit more sensitive and playful. And even though they just started playing out (this was one of their first NY gigs), we’ll be seeing more of this band around.
Written by Mike Levine